UN: We need fresh funding for critical programs

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TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the Philippines is appealing for more donations for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

“We urgently need fresh funding to support critical programming over the next six months,” Klaus Beck said in a news conference.

Although he didn’t see the possibility of a donor fatigue, he admitted only 56 percent of the $788 million needed to implement relief assistance outlined in a UN appeal last December had been received.

He said the funds received were used to provide food, medicines, water and assistance on sanitation and hygiene to about 14 million affected individuals. He said about 500,000 families received tarpaulins and tents given by the United Nations.

Beck said many of the survivors who were rendered homeless had started to rebuild their houses. “Most, however, need support to complete construction,” he said.

Some 133,000 families have received UN help to rebuild their houses. “We provided tools and other materials, as well as training—including to mitigate storm risks. Support to assist an additional 380,000 households is now critical,” Beck said.

‘Great achievement’

What the United Nations considered as “great achievement” over the past six months was the prevention of major diseases.

“But outbreaks remain a major risk that must be mitigated vigilantly. In the first quarter of the year, 10 people died from dengue fever in the Visayas regions while there were almost 3,000 probable and suspected cases reported. There are likely many more unreported cases outside of cities,”Beck said.

The UN official also noticed a big improvement in Yolanda-affected areas. “You can see the people are rebuilding. You can see the roads have been cleared. People are jogging in the streets in the morning,” Beck said.

“There is still much work to be done. I think it would be expected because the scale of the devastation was so large,” he added.

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